There are two sides of faith.
One side is our belief system based on our knowledge of God’s word. This is an essential piece of faith. We need to believe the right things about God. To this end, we are not left to our own experiences or imagination. God gave us 66 books that have been collected into one volume we call the Bible.
Believers are encouraged to read and study these books to learn more about God and his desire for us. Therefore, many followers of Jesus set aside not only time to read the Bible, but also to read books that explain the Bible. They also sit and listen to sermons, lectures, and lessons on a regular basis. Christians have a quest for knowledge of the things of God.
The other side to faith is our actions based off of what we believe. The knowledge of God is given to us to shape everything we do. It has been said that to know what a person really believes, just look at their actions. Jesus himself challenges his followers at the end of the Sermon on the Mount to put their faith “into practice.”
Those of us who call ourselves Christians need to be constantly reminded of these two sides of faith. I have seen numerous people who have erred by living only one side of their beliefs. They either spend all their time learning, and it has little effect on their actions. Yet another group of people want to do great things but have little knowledge of what God really wants. They do good works but can end up doing them for all the wrong reasons.
Both of these are essential to faith. Jesus taught his followers the truth and then told them to go and do it.
Here is the weird twist. Many times, before people are interested in the Bible and what it says about God, they want to see Jesus in our actions. You are the only version of Jesus that many people will see.
People are watching you to see if this thing we call following Jesus is worth their time and energy. The words you use, the actions you do and the attitude in which you do them are all under examination.
I know that can leave us feeling great pressure to be perfect. In my experience, I have found few people looking for perfection. Most people are interested in grace. They want to know it is okay to fail and still be loved. What if today you told someone, “God loves you, and so do I, no matter what you have done.” Maybe for a few minutes, you will be Jesus in Nike shoes.